Horror On The Lens: Tower of London (dir by Rowland V. Lee)


Today’s horror movie comes from 1939 and is presented in glorious black-and-white.  Tower of London tells the famous (and historically controversial) story of King Richard III (Basil Rathbone).  With the help of the club-footed executioner Mord (Boris Karloff), Richard murders his way to the throne of England.

Technically, The Tower of London is more of a historical film than a horror film but, in order to tell its story, it uses many of the techniques that had been previously perfected by the famous Universal monster movies.  Rathbone turns Richard III into a chilling and plausible human monster while Karloff is obviously having a lot of fun in the role of the twisted Mord.

Also of historical interest is the fact that Vincent Price plays the Duke of Clarence, making Tower of London his first horror film and the first film in which he would appear alongside fellow horror icon, Boris Karloff.


2 responses to “Horror On The Lens: Tower of London (dir by Rowland V. Lee)

  1. That was great What a bunch of schemers! Richard and Edward were so obnoxiously arrogant and condescending (and so cavalierly cruel) it made them funny and entertaining. Rathbone, Karloff, and Ian Hunter as Edward were all fun to watch. (Poor Vincent. But he would get his chance for redemption many times over in subsequent films, fortunately forus .)

    If there is not an opera based on Richaed III, there should be.

    And I see what you mean about the black and white format. The images are really vivid, and the darks and lights were used to great effect. I wouldn’t want to see this in color.


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